When I’m 79 (I’ll create more art based on Sgt Pepper)

Sir Peter Blake with an earlier work based on the album. Picture: PA
Sir Peter Blake with an earlier work based on the album. Picture: PA
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SIR Peter Blake has taken inspiration from his iconic cover for the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album to create a new artwork.

The English pop artist, 79, is best known for designing the 1967 cover, a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous faces, together with the Fab Four.

Each of the band members picked their favourites for the crowd scene, which featured Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Karl Marx, Marlene Dietrich, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy among others.

The new artwork features the people who have inspired Sir Peter, who has been dubbed the Godfather of Pop Art, over the decades.

British artists, film directors, musicians, writers, film stars, fashion designers and chefs, as well as himself and his family, are all represented.

Those whose faces are on the new image include murder mystery writer Agatha Christie, fashion designers Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, singer Amy Winehouse, artists Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and David Hockney, supermodel Kate Moss, TV cooks Fanny Cradock and Delia Smith, Harry Potter author JK Rowling – and Paul McCartney once again, although none of the other Beatles appear.

Sir Peter said: “I’ve chosen people I admire, great people and some who are dear friends.

“I had a very long list of people who I wanted to go in but couldn’t fit everyone in. I think that shows how strong British culture is and its legacy over the last six decades.”

The artist said: “The Sgt Pepper cover was made by cutting pieces of cardboard and hand-colouring them. This one is computer-generated. I often thought that if I did it again it would be very quick on the computer, but it was very laborious. Putting this together made me realise we’ve got the most exciting artists, actors and chefs in this country. Our cultural scene is incredibly healthy.”

Sir Peter has made the artwork to go on display during his 80th birthday celebrations at this year’s Vintage Festival, celebrating the best of British culture.

Rowling said of her inclusion in the work: “Given that I’ve devoted quite a lot of time to gazing at the original Sgt Pepper album cover, you can perhaps imagine what it means to me to be selected. What an honour.”

Noel Gallagher said: “I was very chuffed. It’s nice to be recognised by as great an artist as Sir Peter Blake.”

Wayne Hemingway, who runs the Vintage Festival, said:“Sir Peter is the Godfather of British Pop Art and is still as passionate as ever about art and culture.

“It is truly an incredible honour to have him re-imagine such an iconic work of art and we are proud to be dedicating the Sunday at Vintage this year to celebrate his 80th birthday.”